By Samantha Johnson
Coming up in March of 2020 will be the Hat Grannies for Africa annual Fabric, Yarn and More sale. The fabric sale has been happening in Medicine Hat for over six years and Joanie Gilchrist has been the fabric sale coordinator for the past five.
Fa bric sorting day was on Jan. 31.
“Fabric sales are a common fundraiser for groups under the Grandmothers to Grandmothers campaign. Calgary has a very successful fabric sale, which is the one we modelled ours on. In turn, I’ve helped the Lethbridge group and their fabric sale has been very well received. Red Deer and Edmonton also have fabric sale fundraisers,” explained Gilchrist.
Gilchrist continued, “it is a win-win-win situation, people donate fabric, yarn, sewing machines, knitting machines, quilting frames, etc. We measure and price it and then sell it to the public. Our sale has been very successful and last year we had over 100 people come in the door in the first ten minutes.”
“Sewing, quilting, knitting, crocheting, weaving or anything to do with fibre. There are lots of notions too, and a craft section,” added Katherine Rankin, media coordinator for the Fabric Sale.
Gilchrist said “The word is out in the community that we accept donations all year round. We start focusing on it more in January, sending out emails to most of the churches in town so they will put it in their bulletin. As a result, most of the donations arrive in January and February.”
Rankin added, “Last year, those 100 people waiting outside when the doors opened gives an idea of how popular the sale is.”
“People stop me on the street to ask when the sale is because they know I’m involved. It’s a circle and nobody is losing. Many of the materials bought at our fabric sale are made into quilts, scarves and mittens, which are then donated to another charity,” said Gilchrist.
Last year the Fabric, Yarn and More Sale made $9,480. All funds were donated to the Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign, which is part of the Stephen Lewis Foundation. 90 per cent of the money went directly to Africa to provide stable, long-term funding to community-based organizations run by and for African Grandmothers raising their grandchildren.
“Grandmothers over there are raising their grandchildren because the middle generation has been decimated by the AIDS epidemic. Initially, the program was supporting the grandmothers directly but now the grandmothers are taking an active role in running support organizations.”
Costs at the sale are a fraction of what would be paid at the store. Most fabrics sell for $1/meter; quilting material is $5/metre; speciality fabrics, such as polar fleeces. Suiting material and laces sell for $2/meter.
The Fabric, Yarn and More Sale is taking place at St John’s Presbyterian Church, 504 2 Street SE in Medicine Hat on March 14th, 2020 from a.m. to 2 p.m.